UCF Tallies Another Win Over Stetson


Nov. 26, 2005

Box Score

ORLANDO - Senior guard Justin Rose and junior forward Josh Peppers each scored 16 points as the UCF men's basketball team held on for a 74-66 win over visiting Stetson on Saturday evening at UCF Arena. The Golden Knights (3-0) have won nine consecutive games against the Hatters, who drop to 0-4 on the year.

Peppers shot 7-of-12 from the floor and also totaled four assists. The 16 points were a career-high for Rose, who also posted a career-best seven assists to go with eight rebounds.

The hosts led by 11 points with two minutes to play, but the Hatters mounted a late rally behind Will Holloman. He started a 7-1 run with a pair of layups on consecutive Stetson possessions. E.J. Gordon, who finished with a game-high 24 points, nailed a pair of free throws during the stretch, while UCF could only muster one point off of a foul shot from sophomore guard Mike O'Donnell.

Holloman drained a three from the top of the key with 49 seconds left in the game and the UCF edge was cut to three, 66-63. After two Rose free throws, O'Donnell stole a pass from Gordon on the Hatters ensuing possession.

O'Donnell hit four foul shots and sophomore guard Dave Noel sank two free throws of his own with less than 30 seconds to play as the Golden Knights held on for the victory.

UCF has won eight straight games at home and also has an eight game regular season winning streak.

For the game, UCF shot 56.3 percent from the field. O'Donnell finished with 14 points, five assists and two steals and senior forward Anthony Williams totaled 13 points.

The Golden Knights led most of the contest and were ahead 48-36 with 15:21 to play after O'Donnell threw a backdoor lob leading to a Peppers dunk. Stetson would not go away, getting within five at the 9:19 mark on a layup by J.J. Hirst.

With the victory, UCF head coach Kirk Speraw has 198 wins and needs just two more to reach the 200-career victory mark.

Gordon had four points as Stetson closed the opening half on a 7-2 run. After Eric Diaz canned a trey with 38 seconds to play in the first half, UCF led, 36-30, at intermission.

UCF limited Stetson to just 29.4 percent (5-of-17) shooting from three-point range. Behind eight boards from Gordon, the Hatters held a 27-26 edge on the glass.

Holloman recorded 15 points, all in the second half. Karl Hollingsworth finished with nine points in the losing effort.

The two former Atlantic Sun Conference rivals were meeting in a non-league game for the first time since 1993. The Golden Knights are in their first season as a member of Conference USA.

"We have a great deal of respect for them (Stetson)," said Speraw. "Those kids just compete so hard. They are never out of the game. This was the best that E.J. (Gordon) has ever played against us."

UCF concludes its four-game homestand to open the season on Tuesday, hosting local opponent Bethune-Cookman. Tip-off at Torchy Clark Court at UCF Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The contest will be aired live on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, WQTM - 740 THE TEAM.